Victims of family violence afforded easier access to NSW hospitals as part of ongoing COVID disaster response

In a welcome policy move from the NSW government, victims of domestic and family violence will now have easier access to NSW public hospitals for the treatment of their injuries; forming part of the state’s COVID-19 disaster response.

The government has likewise altered its hospital fees policy, so that those ineligible for Medicare—such as victims on Temporary Protection Visas— no longer be required to report the crime to law enforcement in order to access public hospitals free of charge.

A call that came after alarming reports showed search engines such as Google were “seeing the highest magnitude of searches for domestic violence help that they have seen in the past five years with an increase of 75 per cent and some services are already reporting an increase in demand”.

 

Source: Victims of family violence afforded easier access to NSW hospitals as part of ongoing COVID disaster response

Victims offered more support as pandemic sparks rise in financial abuse

The bank was moved to act on the matter after discovering that 8000 customers had used the message field accompanying bank transfers to send abusive messages to their partners – with CEO Matt Comyn saying the program would help tackle one of Australia’s “hidden epidemics”.

Financial abuse is a form of family violence – often found along with other forms of abuse – where an abuser uses power to deny and control their partner’s access to household money.

Source: Victims offered more support as pandemic sparks rise in financial abuse

Child removal ‘breaking parents’, mother says, as report reveals high levels of dissatisfaction

The report found a high level of dissatisfaction among lawyers and parents about the system’s effectiveness and fairness.

“We’re asking for a rethink, we’re asking for much better collaboration between the child safety system and the justice system,” report author Teresa Hinton said.

“Most significantly what we would like to see is a move from this adversarial legal system to a system that’s much more therapeutic and about problem solving.”

Source: Child removal ‘breaking parents’, mother says, as report reveals high levels of dissatisfaction – ABC News

All Nigerian States Declare State of Emergency Over Rape and Gender-Based Violence

Governors of Nigeria’s 36 states have unanimously declared a state of emergency, after a series of high-profile cases of violence perpetrated against women sparked nationwide protests by activists both online and at rallies.

“I am particularly upset at recent incidents of rape, especially of very young girls. The police are pursuing these cases with a view to bringing perpetrators of these heinous crimes to swift justice,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in a televised Democracy Day address, on June 12.

Nigeria has very low conviction rates for rape cases — which contributes further to gender-based violence because perpetrators aren’t held to account.

Source: All Nigerian States Declare State of Emergency Over Rape and Gender-Based Violence

Victoria Police, minister apologise to domestic violence victim after ‘appalling’ privacy breach

Victoria Police has apologised to a woman who suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a serving officer, admitting the case was mishandled and that information about her plans to escape her attacker was wrongly shared around a Melbourne police station.

It comes as new figures released by Victoria Police have shown 41 officers were charged with family violence offences in 2018 and 2019.

Source: Victoria Police, minister apologise to domestic violence victim after ‘appalling’ privacy breach – ABC News

PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) in family law shifts the focus of decision makers away from child safety and the best interests of children. With up to 85% of family court matters involving domestic and family violence, presuming parents should have contact puts children in danger.The current system places victims of violence on the backfoot in court, mediation and in their negotiations with the violent perpetrator. The legislation is complicated, easily misunderstood and its links to equal time incentivise violent perpetrators to pursue their “rights” in the court and other processes putting kids at risk. It is also very complex, making trials and legal processes longer and more expensive. Kids safety should always come first in family law. Show your support now for the removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in the Family Law Act.

Source: PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW | PUT KIDS SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

‘He really wanted to burn me alive’: Rugby star against domestic violence

A horrifying video of rugby star and boxer Debbie Kaore being beaten with a hot iron has been met with global disgust, as more Australian women report domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown.

A new study released by Monash University has revealed an increasing number of Victorian women have been reporting domestic violence during the global health crisis.

More than half of the respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of violence against women.

Nearly half of the practitioners (42 per cent) also said the pandemic had resulted in more women reporting family violence for the first time.

In many cases, perpetrators were using social distancing restrictions aimed at limiting the virus’s spread as an excuse to limit women’s movements.

Source: ‘He really wanted to burn me alive’: Rugby star against domestic violence

Family Court report writer and former Big Brother psychologist, Bob Montgomery, pleads guilty to child sex abuse

A celebrity psychologist — who was used by the Family Court as an expert in custody disputes — has admitted to sexually abusing children decades ago, a revelation that law experts say opens the door for some custody rulings to be quashed.

He was charged by NSW police in January 2019.

Before that he acted in Family Court cases as a family report writer or single expert witness, a role that can include assessing the credibility of child sex abuse allegations in custody disputes.

The Montgomery scandal again throws a spotlight on the powerful role of single expert witnesses in the Family Court, which came under scrutiny in an Australian Law Reform Commission report calling for sweeping changes to the system.

Source: Family Court report writer and former Big Brother psychologist, Bob Montgomery, pleads guilty to child sex abuse – ABC News

How NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) facilitates financial abuse

In NSW, since December 2008, it has not been possible to register a motor vehicle in joint names. It would seem that this change in policy was made to streamline the issuing and enforcement of fines under the NSW road rules. Regrettably, the government appears not to have considered the impact this change would have on the safety of women and children affected by domestic violence in NSW – ill-thought-out bureaucratic convenience prevailed.

This is consistent with the general reluctance to prioritise women and children’s safety and wellbeing over property ownership, as manifest in the unwillingness to seek orders excluding violent men from homes to which they have legal title.

Taking and selling the car used by a female partner is just one of many strategies a male partner may use to perpetrate financial abuse and exercise control in a domestic violence situation. In order to provide the necessary protection for women in these situations and ensure two signatures are required for the sale of a jointly owned car, it is essential that the NSW government reinstate the option of registering motor vehicles in joint names, or at very least enable a second interest in a vehicle to be noted.

Source: How NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) facilitates financial abuse – Australian Lawyers Alliance

Landmark ruling sees employer deemed liable for an employee killed by her partner while working from home

A landmark court ruling has seen an employer deemed liable for an employee who was killed by her partner while working from home in NSW.

According to Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, the evidence showed that Carroll was on-call from about 7.30am at home, her bedroom contained work files, she worked throughout the house and was expected to answer phone calls. She was performing employment related duties or on-call at the time she was killed.

Her de facto partner had paranoid delusions that related to the way Carroll performed her work duties at home. The evidence demonstrated a direct connection between his delusions, Carroll’s employment, and that she was killed by him.

This tragic case of domestic and family violence highlights that employers must consider much more than simple ergonomics when they have employees working from home.

Source: Landmark ruling sees employer deemed liable for an employee killed by her partner while working from home